I took him by the hand and we both walked back inside my room. I watched him sat on the bed gently like he has a reddened boil on his bottom sobbing; his eyes were red and his lips trembled from fear and confusion.
“Eric.” I called, hoping the softness of my voice would at least get him off his fear. But he didn’t bulge; he just sat, staring into the air with tears running down his cheeks. I looked into his eyes and saw a terrified guy who has no clue on what to do with his life. I thought of a way to help, at least give him false hope or something but couldn’t come up with anything. Slowly I moved to the bed, sat beside him and took his hot hand into my cold palms. He squinted at me, our eyes met and I felt pity for him.
“Am I going to die?” He asked.
“No!” I forbade him. “You are not going to die.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Maybe I don’t. But I do know you don’t have the disease yet. So stop the death talks.”
“I am scared Thony. I am really scared.”
“I understand.” I voiced. He was vulnerable, sad and needed a consolation, just the effect I aimed to achieve. I drew his head and laid it on my shoulder. “Tell me, you said you know something about Ahmed. What is it you know?”
He jerked his head up and stared at me with a glaring disappointment. He wondered why I could make such request at such critical situation.
“I know, I shouldn’t have asked you this, at least not now, but ever since you said that, I have been thinking about it and…”
“Is there something?” He queried. “Something between you two you don’t want me to know?”
“No! No!” I hastily interjected. “There is nothing. I just thought I should know if he told you something about me. I mean you are my friend and …” I paused. For seconds I thought pressing on that question was a bad idea. Even if there was nothing, my constant demand for that information might give him the impression that I was hiding something. I got confused and devastated. All my efforts and acting put up just to make him spill has all bounced back at me. A passerby who overheard our conversation earlier at the sitting room would doubt all he knew about epilepsy being contagious or not. I knew that was the extreme, but when I saw them aligning to my own explanations without any form of questioning or argument; I figured I should use one stone to kill two birds, save myself from the effects of the prank I pulled on them in the morning, and through fear generated by my false information, force Eric to tell me all that he knows about Ahmed. But I only achieved the former, and while I did not only fail to achieve the latter, I also put a razor on the cord of our friendship and tempted to betray myself to Eric. I thought about saying the truth and while I was at it, my head couldn’t stop processing separately on how I was going to convince the others that I lied. I sounded so certain and they believed me, possibly because of my educational background. I hissed. It was not entirely my fault, we were all in the university, we were all undergraduates, and knowledge of such should not be reserved to science students alone. I know we are supposed to know more, but anybody in higher institution should know virtually something about everything.
“Anyway, you might want to cheer up, Epilepsy is not contagious. At least it’s not proven yet.” I threw in giving up on my quest for the hidden information.
Eric stared at me with a scorn on his face. He must be thinking how selfish and inconsiderate I was even when I was acting all caring. I looked at him and knew he didn’t believe me. My first testimony has sunken and there was no going back.
“What!” I yelled at him. “Yes I lied. I lied because I had to make you all forget about your revenge.” I said as I stood up from the bed. I walked away from him and stood backing him. I could not remember the last time I lied with such impunity.
“Stop being heartless Thony. Stop making fun of my condition.”
“What condition?” I turned sharply. “You are an undergraduate for Pete’s sake, make some research and find out the truth yourself. You all need to stop believing everything you hear without prove. That’s why we are in school, to learn, learn with proven facts.”
“You mean you lied just to make us forget our planned…”
“Yes. Yes that is why I lied. And I also wanted to scare you into telling me what you know about Ahmed.” I intoned. My voice was high; my hormones were all boiling up. I felt a bit enraged for my failure in finding out the truth. “Common Eric, you can’t just say something like that and expect me to just let it go. I had to find out my own way since you didn’t want to tell me.”
Eric, still sitting gawked at me with his eyeballs on his hands. He couldn’t believe what he just heard. His face has that emotionless look that made it hard for me to determine what he was thinking. He was smiling and he was sad, all at the same time. I watched him stood gently, his eyes on me as he stepped gently towards me. My heartbeat accelerated as he approached me. I looked away trying to avoid his sensual gaze, but as I looked away, he trailed my eyes and made sure his were right into mine. I took few steps backwards and my leg hit on the table behind me. I halted my head grew massively big as my veins embarked on a blood pump race. I felt jitters all over my body and I couldn’t explain it. If Eric knew about me and Ahmed, he should just tell me and stop tormenting me. He got closer and his hand lifting my hand he looked once again into my eyes.
“You are scared.” He said. “Why are you scared? What do you fear I might find out between you and Ahmed?”
The tone he asked the question with was more tormenting than the questions themselves. I looked at myself and I could only think about how the hunter has suddenly become the hunted.
“I am not scared. I am just…”
“You are scared, don’t lie again. And I know why.” He dropped my hands and walked to the table.
I quickly turned with all the courage I could muster.
“Why?” I asked. My heart was not stable yet my physical appearance spoke more of my courageous stand. “Why do you think I am scared?”
“Would you like to accompany me to see Dr Ahmed? I would like to be sure about this epilepsy stuff.”
I felt belittled. He was playing with me, and he was good at it. I respired strongly, pushing into my heart enough air of encouragement and boldness.
“You know what,” I opened up. “I am sick and tired of you playing with my emotions okay? If you know something, just spill it and stop tormenting me. I have had enough of you suspenseful drama.” I was mad, angry at what he was doing. “I am not a kid Eric.” I felt the need to explain further. “I know he told you something about me, so please just tell me what it is. I will highly appreciate it.” I was begging, yet my voice portrayed command and order. I figured that was the only way to maybe have him speak since my gentle and soft pleas have all been failing on a shitty lane. I was confused when I saw him looking at me with this annoying blank look that begged for further explanation. I shook my head, and headed for the door.
“So that means you aren’t following me to Dr Ahmed’s?” He said as I placed my hand on the knob. I turned and he was looking at me with a smile. He knew exactly what he was doing and he was getting it right.
“I will not follow anywhere till you tell me what you know. And for your information, I will make sure other stick to their thought that you are contaminated.” I said with all the bitterness in my gall bladder.
“Well that could be bad.”
“Terrible, it would be terrible.” I concurred with emphasis on the terrible.
“Just not for me, but for you.”
I paused, pulled my hands off the knob and walked back to him. “What are you talking about?”
“If you don’t tell them that you lied, I will tell them what Ahmed told me. And as you said, that would be terrible.” He said mimicking me.
I felt my blood drain out of my veins and arteries. My life purged out of me and my skeleton shredded into a bone paste. My jaw remained ajar as my mouth refused to come together in closure. My nose was stuffed with a smell that contaminated even the air inside of me. My eyes turned reddish hot and the hotness got its water tank burst. The water clustered in my eyes waiting to roll down and betray once again my courage and also prove to Eric that I have something to hide. I inhaled; my fist rolled into my palms as angry hormones mixed with confusion sent perspiration all over my body. Its hotness brought me back to life and I smiled, feigning a strong and care less fellow.
“Tell them what you want. I don’t care. You have got nothing on me.” I told him and quickly turned as a drop of tear fell off my eyes. I wiped it, picked my jacket and left the house.
…the story continues…..
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